How Much Is It to Ship a Car? This Is How to Calculate Cost

Justin Lee
Justin Lee is an experienced writer focusing on Moving related content along with car moves across the USA.

According to a survey by E.ON, moving is the most stressful life event, even beating out divorce. That stress is only accentuated when you have to ship something big like a car. Not only do you have to figure out how you’re going to ship it, but you have to ask yourself, “How much is it to ship a car?”

If you need to know the cost of having a car shipped, look no further. Here’s your complete guide to the price of shipping a car.

What is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car?

Everyone has the same basic question on their mind when it comes to transport car services. How much to ship a car?

While transport car quotes can vary widely, there are a few ways to ensure the most affordable prices possible. Having your car moved on an open car carrier will always come with more affordable pricing for starters.

But the savings don’t have to end there. You can also opt to have your car shipped terminal-to-terminal rather than door-to-door. Yes, this means you’ll have to arrange transportation from and to the terminal when dropping off and picking up your ride.

This inconvenience will translate into savings, however. Of course, you must also consider the costs you’ll accrue with a terminal-to-terminal service. These include storage costs, transportation expenses, and gas charges.

If you live near an easily accessible terminal, though, this method may be your most expedient and cheapest option.

Is It Worth It to Ship a Car?

Some consumers question whether a transport car service is worth it. They assume that driving the vehicle represents a more cost-effective option. While this may appear true on the surface, let’s dig a little deeper into the hidden costs associated with this choice.

An unnecessary road trip will put extra miles on your vehicle. It contributes to wear and tear and will even lower the resell value of your car. What’s more, if something goes wrong, you’re likely in for a costly repair.

Of course, the hidden expenses don’t stop there. You must also take into account safety considerations when it comes to transport car options.

After all, more than 38,000 people get killed each year on American roadways. That’s 12.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Besides fatalities, another 4.4 million get seriously injured in car accidents.

In fact, car accidents remain the leading cause of death in the United States for those aged one to 54 years old. By heading out on an extended road trip to save money, you put your life and those of your passengers at greater risk.

That’s why a growing number of consumers continue to turn to professionals for their transport car needs.

How Much Is It to Ship a Car?

When it comes to shipping cars, prices are variable.

The cost depends on a lot of different factors, from the model and weight of the car to the distance and company you go with. On average though, you should expect about $500 – $700 for shorter distance transport, and as high as $1,500 for long hauls. Don’t be surprised if it ends up being a little higher than that for a heavier truck, though.

Car shipping prices also depend on supply and demand. There are around 10,000 cars waiting to be shipped out of California right now. Because of this, fewer truckers are available to ship cars.

Unfortunately, that puts your vehicle on a long list of others and means an increase in cost not only in California but in the surrounding States, too. Considering this, you can expect prices on the higher end of the spectrum right now.

Other factors that affect shipping price include whether or not the car is in running condition, if you want an enclosed trailer for shipping, and if your car is souped up and modded.

Now that you have a better grasp of the various factors that go into a consumer’s decision to have their car professionally shipped, you’re likely wondering how much you need to budget. You must understand the final price you’ll pay is based on many factors.

These factors include:

  • Trip distance
  • Car make and model
  • Vehicle condition
  • Transport type
  • Location
  • Time of year

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these factors impacts the final price you’ll pay. That way, you’ll know right away whether or not a shipping quote is reasonable.


When you visit a car shipper’s website, the most professional and customer-centric ones will have a shipping quote calculator. This calculator will provide you with an instant quote that’s no-obligation and free. Never pay for a shipping quote.

As you go through getting a quote, you’ll notice that the calculator asks many different questions. Some of these have to do with the make and model of your vehicle.

Why are these factors important? Because they’re indicative of size. The longer and taller a car, the more room it takes up on a transporter, and the more it’ll cost to move.

Larger dimensions and vehicle modifications may also lead to adjustments of the carrier. Any adjustments that must be made will get reflected in what you pay.


When you visit a car shipper’s website, the most professional and customer-centric ones will have a shipping quote calculator. This calculator will provide you with an instant quote that’s no-obligation and free. Never pay for a shipping quote.

As you go through getting a quote, you’ll notice that the calculator asks many different questions. Some of these have to do with the make and model of your vehicle.

Why are these factors important? Because they’re indicative of size. The longer and taller a car, the more room it takes up on a transporter, and the more it’ll cost to move.

Larger dimensions and vehicle modifications may also lead to adjustments of the carrier. Any adjustments that must be made will get reflected in what you pay.


You’ll also need to report the condition of your vehicle faithfully. Why? Because cars that run are much easier to ship than those that don’t.

The ability to steer, roll, and brake is vital to properly loading an automobile onto a carrier trailer. If your car doesn’t have these capabilities, then the driver must rely on a winch or other equipment to move it into place.

Dealing with an inoperable vehicle is a time-consuming process, and not one that a driver takes lightly. It often requires loading with a wrecker or forklift. For this reason, many auto shippers only offer quotes for vehicles that can roll, brake, and steer.


We’ve already briefly mentioned it, but it’s important to understand the options available to you regarding car shipping. By far, the most popular and affordable option remains transport on an open carrier.

As the name suggests, open carriers don’t shelter vehicles from the elements or road grime. They don’t protect cars from gravel and other roadway debris, either. But these work well for commuters and daily drivers.

After all, the abuse a car will receive on an open carrier is comparable to a road trip. That said, what if you have an investment-worthy vehicle? In this case, you’ll need to spend more and go with an enclosed carrier.

What’s so great about an enclosed carrier? These carriers have walls and a roof, which protect vehicles from road debris, grime, weather, and more. If you’ve got a vintage, antique, exotic, or race-quality vehicle, this is the only route to take.

Just be prepared to pay for this upgraded service.


You’ll want to bear in mind where your pick up and drop off locations are located. Why? Because the further a driver must come off their regular route, the more you’ll end up paying.

Metropolitan areas typically have plenty of trucks and drivers available. Because demand is high, you’ll find more supply and some of the best rates.

When it comes to rural locations, though, that’s prices climb. While an experienced and professional company should go to great lengths to secure you the best rate possible, no matter where you live, expect to pay more in less trafficked areas.

The further you live from a major highway, the more you should expect to pay.


When it comes to seasonality, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, summer tends to be the busiest time of year for car transporters.

Why? Because this is when most people decide to move. So, you may not get the best deals at this time of year because of the extra demand.

Although you’d naturally conclude that winter represents the cheapest time for car shipping, think again. During the coldest months, ice and snow conspire to make driving a large auto transporter a virtual nightmare.

As a result, prices and shipping times tend to go up. What’s your best bet? The greater your flexibility, the better the price you’ll receive. Try different shipping dates out in a calculator to find the optimal one for you.

How Much Will It Cost to Ship My Car Calculator?

Where can you go to get an instant shipping quote that’s free of charge and obligation? Check out our anonymous quote generator now. That way, you’ll know exactly what to budget when it comes to an upcoming relocation.

Remember to try various dates to see which days and times will provide you with the most affordable rates. Like airplane travel, having flexibility when it comes to shipping dates leads to significant savings.

How Much to Ship a Car Overseas?

Customers often ask, “How much to ship a car overseas?” If your move entails more than moving between states or from coast-to-coast, you’ll need to look at other options, such as ferries and ships. That said, cars can still be affordably relocated.

Shipping a personal vehicle internationally costs between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the distance, type of car, etc. Ocean transport generally runs $5,000, and airplane transport can go as high as $40,000.

As you can see, the cost to ship a car overseas rises rapidly depending on the form of transportation you choose.

How to Calculate Shipping Costs

With such a broad range of possible prices, you may feel even more stressed about the whole process now. Fear not. There are a few ways you can calculate the price of shipping your car before picking a shipment company.

Here are a few of the most popular ways to get that done.


For one of the most accurate measures of car shipping prices you should check

CentralDispatch is the home of the national dispatch load board. Using their website, you can input all the details of your car and how far you need to move it. The website takes your requested quote and gives it to a broker agent, who calculates how much it should cost.

The broker compares your shipment to similar cases in the past. They also consider how many truckers are available, the current market rates, and when your car can be shipped. The broker will get back to you with as accurate a shipping price as possible.


Oftentimes, car transport companies will charge you on a per-mile basis.

When you’re looking for a car shipping company, ask them their price per mile. Then, multiply that cost per mile by the amount of miles you’re moving. You should end up with a rough estimate of what you’ll need to pay.

Of course, there may be other fees that the company factors in, so this isn’t a solid number. There are other methods you can use for more accurate cost estimations.


You can also calculate the cost of having your car shipped directly from the Nexus Auto Transport website.

Right on the home page you’ll see the words “Choose Your Route”. Underneath are two spaces: one for your pickup location, and one for your dropoff location. Type these in and hit ‘Next Step’ to continue with the calculator.

Next, put in your vehicles make and model, and select the correct additional options if applicable. These include whether your car is in running shape or not and if you want an enclosed trailer. If these do not apply, don’t select them.

All you need to do now is input your email for confirmation, and you’ll see your estimates!

We give you three estimates at Nexus: economy price, standard price, and expedited price. We also offer you an estimated time of delivery. From this page, you can save your quote and have it emailed to you, and schedule your shipment.

The Nexus Auto Transport calculator is the fastest and easiest way to get shipping costs for your car.

How to Save Money on Car Shipping

It’s going to be expensive to ship your car. However, there are a few ways you can save a couple of bucks in the process.

It’s less expensive to ship a running car than it is to ship a non-running one. This is because you need a specially equipped truck to transport non-running vehicles. It takes more effort to get a non-running car onto a truck or trailer, which leads to increased costs.

By getting your car in running condition you can save at least $100. The other main consideration is between an enclosed and open trailer.

An open trailer is cheaper, but it leaves your car open to the elements. While the driver will do all they can to keep your car safe, nothing is certain. Loose stones, weather, and more may cause damage to the exterior of the vehicle.

Enclosed trailers are more expensive, but keep your vehicle safe. They ensure your car is safer from weather, errant stones, and possible accidents. You can expect this to add about $200 minimum to your cost, though.

You also have priority and shipping options to consider. Nexus Auto Transport, for example, offers three options: economy, standard, and expedited. Economy is the cheapest option, but also comes with the longest estimated shipping time.

If you can wait a little longer for your vehicle to arrive to your new home, you can save a considerable amount of money by selecting economy shipping. Always ask your auto transport company if they offer different shipping options.

Nexus Auto Transport also picks your car up for you, saving you from having to drive it to a pickup point. That saves you on gas, ultimately leading to a cheaper overall price. It’s the little things that count.


Many auto shipping companies, including Nexus Auto Transport, offer specific discounts that can save you money.

If you are in the military, or if you’re retired from the military, take advantage of the military discount. Each auto transport company will detail how you can take advantage of this discount. At Nexus Auto Transport, talk to one of our car transport specialists and let them know — they’ll lower the cost of your overall shipment.

Paying in cash also offers you a decent discount. Truckers prefer payment in cash, so they offer a decent reduction in price for it. It’s important to note, you usually cannot pay a trucker directly with a credit card so you’ll need either cash, a check, or a money order to go forward with your shipment.

You can also get a discount if you’re shipping multiple vehicles. This is because the vehicles will all go on the same truck. If you have multiple vehicles to ship, let us know so we can arrange it in the most cost-effective way for you.


Finally, you will find it’s cheaper to ship your vehicle during certain seasons.

The summer is typically the most expensive time to ship your car. Many people move in the summer, meaning there are more car deliveries happening. This boosts your cost and elongates your estimated delivery date.

If you can get away with it, you can save a decent bit of coin shipping your car in the fall months. Between September and November you can often find the best prices as there are fewer people shipping vehicles.

Using these few tips, you can save as much money as possible shipping your car. Always ask your auto transport company what sort of discounts and savings they can afford you. You never know how much you could knock off your total!

Find the Cheapest Car Shipping Around

So, how much is it to ship a car? Well, there are a lot of factors that go into that question. There isn’t one concrete answer, so expect to see any price around $1,500 – $1,600 for long-distance moves, and $500 – $1,000 for shorter distances.

The best decision is to use a shipping cost calculator like the one at Nexus Auto Transport, or CentralDispatch. That way, you get an accurate cost estimate before shipping your car out.

Click here if you want to learn more about how Nexus Auto Transport ships your vehicle. Learn why we’re the best choice for all your vehicle shipping needs.